Airbus is to implement a flight-tracking system as standard on the A350 and A380 designed to transmit alerts automatically in the event of an abnormal flight situation.
The system has been developed in co-operation with avionics specialist Rockwell Collins and will become optional on the A320 family, as well as the A330 and A340.
Rockwell says that, if triggered by an abnormal profile, the system will automatically raise the frequency of position reporting – transmitting once every 60s compared with the 15min interval standard.
Data will be sent to ground receivers through the aircraft's ACARS equipment.
The Onboard Aircraft Tracking function will monitor parameters including altitude, airspeed, attitude and engine performance for unusual data.
Rockwell has detailed the Airbus partnership at the Paris air show, stating that the function is available as an upgrade to airline operational control software and can be retrofitted as well as activated on new-build aircraft.
"The ability to automatically and instantaneously identify a possible issue can provide a significant advantage for airline operators interested in tracking their aircraft," says Rockwell information management services senior vice-president David Nieuwsma.
Aircraft tracking became a subject of intense interest following the still-unsolved disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in March 2014. The Boeing 777-200ER deviated from its assigned route with only limited subsequent communications regarding its location, and was subsequently lost over the southern Indian Ocean.